Airline competition in the United States is fierce and the battlefields are price and service. Safety should be an area of cooperation. When a carrier (member of A4A) designs an enhancement to aviation operations, maintenance, training, weather, etc., it should be in the traveling public’s interest to have the carriers share any such improvement. Airlines for America is the association which is dedicated to representing its members before the Congress, FAA and the Administration on safety issues. Captain Billy Nolan now has the responsibility “to advise, evaluate and set standards and procedures that maximize safety and customer service and improve efficiency.”
Captain Nolan has extensive experience relevant to his A4A job. He has spent 26 years in the airplanes of his prior employer, American Airlines (a total of 35 years in aviation). In addition to his piloting, he held assignments as a Check Airman, Manager of the AA Flight Aviation Safety Action Partnership program (ASAP), Manager of Flight Safety and most recently Managing Director, Employee Safety and Regulatory Affairs. His work as an executive brought him into direct contact with the FAA. His LinkedIn biography includes the following relevant comments/questions:
“Can today’s and tomorrow’s global airline operations be made even safer? If so, are we going about it the right way? The answer to the first part is absolutely, and to the second, maybe. We can never stop asking the tough questions or looking for ways to make organizations more resilient!
During this time, we established clear goals, executed well and deliver consistent improvements in aircraft damages, employee injuries, and regulatory concerns.
I believe in a strong collaborative workplace and the absolute necessity to achieve operational excellence. I welcome your thoughts and ideas about how we continue to make today’s and tomorrow’s airline operations around the globe the safest and most reliable.”
Such perspectives and work history should help him drive an aggressive safety agenda with his members and the FAA.
It will be interesting to see whether his past success in collaboration can be brought to bear with his A4A members. Should the motto “we do not compete on safety” be adopted? The collective wisdom of the airline industry and the new FAA emphasis on using data to be proactive in their collective, cooperative effort should result in a safer way to fly!